Airaa director Sarjun KM on his upcoming supernatural thriller and working with Nayanthara

Sreedhar Pillai

Mar 26, 2019 15:41:02 IST

Director Sarjun KM's emotional supernatural thriller Airaa, starring Nayanthara in a dual role for the first time, is all set to hit screens on 28 March. Nayanthara, the lady superstar of Kollywood, had agreed to do the film just after hearing the young director’s narration. Sarjun had impressed everybody with his two short films, Lakshmi and Maa. Last year he debuted as a feature film director with Echcharikkai, a crime thriller. Now, with a lot a riding on Airaa, he opens up on the film and working with Nayanthara, in an interaction. Excerpts below:

Why did you choose the title Airaa?

Airaa is the short form of Airavatham, the elephant of Lord Indra. According to science, elephants have a very sharp memory. One of the characters played by Nayanthara in the film has a terrific memory. Therefore, my writer Priyanka Ravindran and I thought Airaa would be the perfect title.

As a newcomer, how did you manage to convince Nayanthara to do the film?

The producer of the film, Kotapadi Rajesh, who had earlier made Nayanthara’s Aramm, approached me after watching my short films. He wanted to know if I had some female-oriented subject for Nayanthara. It was then I remembered Priyanka Ravi’s story. She had co-written my short film Maa. Nayanthara listened to the one-line story and agreed to come on board. Priyanka has written the story, while I have done the dialogues.

Airaa director Sarjun KM on his upcoming supernatural thriller and working with Nayanthara

Nayanthara in a still from Airaa.

How different is the film from Nayanthara’s earlier horror hits Maya and Dora?

I would say Airaa is more of a supernatural thriller than a horror film. It also has an emotional connect which you will feel once you leave the theatres. Plus, the flashback scenes are very strong unlike regular horror films.

Tell us about Nayanthara’s characterisation in Airaa?

First and foremost, when we narrated the story to her, she was to play only one of the characters. We were looking for a theatre artist for the other. She had agreed to do the role of Yamuna, a city-based girl, running a youtube channel and shooting a ghost spoof. The other character is that of Bhavani, a girl from a small town. But when the final script evolved, we thought that it would be better if she played the character of Bhavani too, and for that we did a make-up test and it came out well. Usually, when an actor plays a dual role, the characters are related, like twins or siblings; we've tried to break that concept. Bhavani and Yamuna are two unrelated people, and they will look like two different people on screen.

How did Nayanthara handle both the characters?

Nayanthara has done a terrific job and put in a lot of effort into her roles. She has tried something really new, both in terms of makeup and performance. Her body language will jolt the audience.

Who has dubbed for Nayanthara in the film?

Her regular voice, Deepa Venkat, has dubbed for HER Yamuna character while for Bhavani , I have used a new voice, Krithika Nelson.

How confident are you about its success?

Those who attended a screening of the film are impressed by it. Nayanthara's characters are the pivot around which the film revolves. It has a very entertaining first half with Yogi Babu providing some light humour. The emotional second half is gripping. In most horror genre films, blue and green is the colour tone used to depict the eeriness, but in Airaa, I have used orange and red colour pattern which will make it look scary. And the flashback portion where the Bhavani character appears is in black and white will give it that emotional connect. I’m sure the film will work at the box-office.

Updated Date: Mar 26, 2019 16:14:25 IST

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